‘Verse: Blackguards and Plaster Saints
Length/Rating: 305 words, PG, Gen
Summary: Twin Ponds was a tiny town, but it had always been tiny; little more than a collection of houses in the midst of unbounded prairie.
Twin Ponds was a tiny town, but it had always been tiny; little more than a collection of houses in the midst of unbounded prairie. Nestled in the ground between houses a century old, the silver spire of the collection tower looked intensely alien.
They’d heard the news, by radio and phone, about just what had landed in the northwest field, so they avoided it.
Because there were other towns, larger towns, an hour or so down the winding roads and the aliens could deal with them. Twin Ponds was much to small for something so large to notice.
A month went by, shrouded in careful ignorance, before the spire began to move. It crept closer towards the houses every night, silent and still only when they watched. So they took turns, staring at the bit of somewhere else that had come to steal away their children.
Two months went by and the watches grew lax, because there were more important things to do; crops to tend and children to raise, houses to build and animals to tend. So they let it creep into town, and drilled their children in defiance.
Six months gone and halfway through the Zero Year, the spire began to talk.
They listened to stories of other worlds, other wars, other volunteers that kept The Fleet alive. Vivid descriptions of space, and life, and all the things that might be worth fighting for.
And then, as the months rolled on, it told them what the rest of the world was doing. The percentages, the thresholds, the quiet somber numbers that reminded them of what they wanted to forget.
And at last, when they were down to weeks, and days, and hours, it reminded them that if they could not choose, it would choose for them.
And when Exodus came… it did.